VIJAYAWADA : Former Vice-President of India Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu (Public Affairs Category) and Tollywood actor Konidela Chiranjeevi (Arts) have been conferred with India’s second-highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan for 2024.
Born on July 1, 1949 in Nellore district, Venkaiah Naidu got the bachelor’s degree in law from Andhra University College of Law, Visakhapatnam. Associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), he joined the ABVP during his college days.
Venkaiah Naidu came into the spotlight for his prominent role in the Jai Andhra Movement of 1972. He was elected as an MLA from Udayagiri constituency in Nellore district in 1978 and 1983. He was elevated to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka in 1998 and re-elected in 2004 and 2010 from the same State. At the national level, he served as the BJP spokesperson from 1996 to 2000.
After the NDA came to power in the 1999 general elections, he became the Union Minister for Rural Development in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Cabinet. Later, Venkaiah Naidu become the BJP national president and also served as a minister in Modi’s Cabinet before being elevated as the Vice-President. He served as the Vice-President from August 11, 2017 to August 11, 2022.
On the other hand, Chiranjeevi is a well-known actor in Telugu States. Born as Konidela Sivasankara Varaprasad on August 22, 1955, he is also a film producer and former politician. In his career spanning over four decades, he has acted in more than 150 films, majority of them in Telugu, some in Tamil, Kannada and also in Hindi.
The honours won by him include the Raghupathi Venkaiah Award, three Nandi Awards, and nine Filmfare Awards South, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2006, he was honoured with the Padma Bhushan Award in recognition his rich contribution to Indian cinema. Chiranjeevi also hosted the fourth season of television show Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu
In 2008, Chiranjeevi floated the Praja Rajyam Party and a year later contested the general elections. His party went on to win 18 of the 294 Assembly seats in the undivided Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. He contested from Tirupati and Palakollu, but could win only in Tirupati.
After running the political party for nearly two-and-a-half years, Chiranjeevi merged his Praja Rajyam with the Congress. He was later nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 2012 and served as the Union Minister of State (Independent charge) for Tourism. After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, Chiranjeevi became inactive in politics, and resumed acting in movies.
CM congratulates awardees
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy congratulated former Vice-President Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu and film star Konidela Chiranjeevi on being nominated for the Padma Vibhushan Award in Public Affairs and Arts categories. He also congratulated Harikatha exponent D Uma Maheshwari on getting Padma Shri Award in Arts category